Matthew Pearsonmpearso4@depaul.edu200 McGawOf
ce Hours:M/W 9-30-11am andhappily by appointment
Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse 205: Special Topics—The Historyof Literacy examines, well, the history of literacy. De
ning“Literacy” is ostensibly an easy task, having something to do withreading and writing. But, as we will explore this quarter, theconcept of literacy has been in debate since systems of alphabetswere
rst developed 5000 years ago. Researchers, educators, andpolicy makers have debated the de
nition of literacy, its value, itsconsequences, and social and educational policies directed atattaining it. In this course, we’ll read selected landmark scholarlyarticles on the history of literacy.As we read these works, we will ask such questions as:What is literacy?Is literacy the same everywhere?How is literacy different from orality?Does the introduction of literacy in a culture necessarilyhave certain effects or cause certain changes?How is literacy related to schooling?Does literacy change as technologies and new media forcommunication emerge? If so, how?
This is a reading- and writing-intensive course. We’ll be readingabout 20 to 40 pages for each class meeting. You’ll also bewriting a lot—both outsideof class and in class. Nearly all ourwork this quarter will focus on understanding the texts we read for